“Today a light will shine upon us, for the Lord is born for us”
The meaning of the celebration
+ Since the fourth century, Christians have celebrated the feast of the Incarnation of Christ on the 25th day of December.
+ Marking the beginning of the Christmas Season, the Church celebrates the three comings of Christ: in history in his birth in Bethlehem, in mystery as he is born within us each day, and in majesty as we celebrate that he will come again at the end of time.
+ The Christmas Season begins at sundown on December 24 and continues until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord on the Sunday following the Epiphany.
For prayer and reflection
“As the angels said to the shepherds: ‘Do not be afraid!’. And I also repeat to all of you: Do not be afraid! Our Father is patient, he loves us, he gives us Jesus to guide us on the way which leads to the promised land. Jesus is the light who brightens the darkness. He is mercy: our Father always forgives us. He is our peace. Amen.”—Pope Francis
On December 25, the Church also remembers Saint Peter Nolasco, the 12th century French nobleman who founded the Order of Our Lady of Mercy (the Mercedarians), a community devoted to ransoming enslaved and persecuted Christians from the Moors. Saint Peter died on Christmas Day, 1258, and was canonized in 1628.
To learn about communities named for the Savior and the mystery of the Lord’s Nativity, visit the links below.
-The Society of the Divine Savior (the Salvatorian priests and brothers): www.salvatorians.com
-The Sisters of the Divine Savior (the Salvatorian Sisters): www.sistersofthedivinesavior.org
-The Handmaids of the Holy Child Jesus: www.hhcj.org
-The Society of the Holy Child Jesus: www.sjch.org/american
-The Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Infant Jesus: www.fmijusa.org
-The Carmelite Nuns of the Monastery of the Infant Jesus of Prague: www.carmeloftraverscity.org
-The Carmelite Nuns of the Monastery of the Infant Jesus of Prague and Our Lady of Guadalupe: www.carmelsanantonio.org
-The Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of the Infant Jesus: www.lufkintxnuns.org
-The Benedictine Sisters of Emmanuel Monastery (Lutherville, MD): www.emmanuelosb.org
– The Carmelite Community of the Word: www.ccwsisters.org
O God, who wonderfully created the dignity of human nature
and still more wonderfully restored it,
grant, we pray,
that we may share in the divinity of Christ,
who humbled himself to share in our humanity.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.